Middle-term car storage
January 5, 2007 2:44 AM   Subscribe

Safe place to store/park my car in Berkeley for 9 weeks?

I've been called up on a last minute, out-of-town gig, going from this Tuesday to the second week in March, and I need a place to put my car in the interim. I could just leave it on the street, but after a few weeks, I'd imagine that it would become a target. So, I need a place to put it. Thoughts?

Any alternatives are also appreciated - thanks!
posted by stewiethegreat to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have a good solution, but if your car is at all decrepit, I agree you shouldn't leave it on the street for that long. Berkeley's "72 hour rule" means your car can be towed after 72 hours parked in the same place, and it is enforced if the neighbours make a fuss.
posted by beniamino at 2:52 AM on January 5, 2007

Um, so in Berkeley, if you park your own car outside your own house, and just happen not to use it for four days, it can be towed away? Sounds awesome!
posted by chrismear at 4:20 AM on January 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

A lot of storage places have spaces for cars that'll cost you under $100/month. (Possibly way under $100/month; my experience is with the greater NYC area.) I've done this a couple of times without incident.

You'll need a place within walking distance of public transportation, of course, and it might be good to try and get as far away from the city as you can, but it should be totally doable.
posted by equalpants at 6:14 AM on January 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

Well, you did say safe, but I have no idea what your budget is.

If it's $0, maybe non-monitored employee parking lots of any large 24-hour business (and at the outskirts of that group of cars, not in choice spaces). The idea is someone seeing the car every day will think it's someone working a shift. Maybe Wal-Mart 35 spaces from the front. There's a fine line between employees just thinking it's another workers car, and them knowing it isn't, and what that line is I really don't know. If I was in a bind, that's what I might be scoping out.
posted by rolypolyman at 7:18 AM on January 5, 2007

Beniamino is correct about the 72 hour rule. People try to do this in my neighborhood (no residential parking permits required, much less oversight from the revenue collectors parking enforcement people) but after 4 days a car gets a warning flag and a couple days after that it disappears (either people move it or it gets towed.)

I would not try rolypolyman's approach either- I cannot think of any unmonitored parking lots anywhere in Berkeley. Since this is for a work gig, is this something that you can expense? If it needs to be free, I think you'll need to find a friend/neighbor/roommate who is totally trustworthy and/or has space in their driveway to store it off-street while you are gone. If you don't have access to that, then I'd look for cheaper monthly parking in Oakland, El Cerrito or Richmond.
posted by ambrosia at 8:41 AM on January 5, 2007

Call around to the self-storage lots or places for RV parking? There's a self-storage near the Oakland coliseum, across from the big fleamarket, that I think will allow auto storage. You could drive it right in and lock the door.
posted by pgoes at 9:16 AM on January 5, 2007

In practice, you have more like a week than 3 days -- your 3 days to move or get towed only begin after it's come to the police's attention, usually due to a neighbor's complaint, so they can determine through their own inspection that it hasn't moved for three days (i.e., what ambrosia said.)

I live in Berkeley, and I absolutely, positively cannot think of anywhere (besides a private driveway, garage, or lot, with permission) you could park for 9 weeks for free without being towed.

pgoes' and ambrosia's suggestions sound good; I'd also price private long-term parking options by the Oakland airport.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 10:07 AM on January 5, 2007

Also, you might want to think of contingency plans in case your car doesn't start after not being driven for 9 weeks. Or see if you can arrange for someone to start it for you every week or so.
posted by autojack at 10:30 AM on January 5, 2007

Eastbay BART stations (the ones with parking lots) now have extended parking.

It might be worth the drive out to Lamorinda or Walnut Creek to leave your car for such a long time (rather than N. Berkeley, or the El Cerrito stations).
posted by janell at 1:33 PM on January 5, 2007

Where I live (Oakland/Emeryville border) a person would only have to move a car on the street once every 2 weeks. Unless you found someone to move it for you, you could just accumulate parking tickets -- let's see, 4-5 at... $35(?) apiece. That still beats the BART price. But you might get towed once they noticed you had 4 tickets.

You might drive around the neighborhood down by Urban Ore, the climbing gym, etc., and see what the parking regs are there. That neighborhood doesn't feel very safe, though.

When I lived at an apartment building just south of campus off of College Ave, there were empty spots in our garage. It was $75/month in 2003. If you called the big property management groups (eg, Lapham, or look on Craigslist to see who's posting vacancies), they might know which of their properties have vacant spots.
posted by salvia at 2:53 PM on January 5, 2007

Look into the park and fly deals at hotels around SFO and OAK. Basically, the idea is that you stay at the hotel for a night, catch a shuttle to your flight, and leave your car in their parking lot for the duration of your trip (with free hotel shuttle back once you get home). All of them let you keep your car parked in the lot for the first week for free, and charge some fee after that. How much? Dunno. But probably worth looking into. Probably cheaper to do near the Oakland Airport, too.
posted by Wavelet at 4:42 PM on January 5, 2007

Do you have a friend who will move it for you? Or that has a parking space/driveway they would let you use?
posted by oneirodynia at 5:39 PM on January 5, 2007

Oh, and look at craigslist parking/storage for the East Bay.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:42 PM on January 5, 2007

Thanks for all of the helpful replies - I think I'm just going to have a friend move the car around every few days for me. It's probably better for the car that way, and saves me approx. one buttload of money.
posted by stewiethegreat at 8:00 PM on January 5, 2007

Here is your answer
posted by growabrain at 9:45 PM on January 5, 2007

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